Hampshire plane crash: Four dead after light aircraft hits Blackbushe Airport car auction site while trying to land

The plane crashed metres from the runway

Kashmira Gander@kashmiragander
Saturday 01 August 2015 00:28
Firefighters douse a plane with water after it crashed
Firefighters douse a plane with water after it crashed

Four people have died after a light aircraft 'went up into a ball of flames' when it crashed into a car auction site at Blackbushe airport, Hampshire, as it attempted to land on a runway.

The emergency services were called to the scene at the British Car Auctions (BCA) dealership near the border with Hampshire and Surrey at around 3:10pm on Friday, after the aircraft crashed and caused a large fire. The plane involved was a Phenom 300, the BCA said in a statement.

Acting chief inspector Olga Venner, of Hampshire Police said: "We can confirm that there were four people on board, including the pilot.

"Sadly, there were no survivors. No-one on the ground has been injured and we would urge anyone with any information, including pictures or videos, to contact 101."

The police have launched a joint investigation with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), she said.

A group of people, believed to be the family of the victims, were escorted to the site by police officers.

Footage shows the aircraft ablaze, as acrid smoke rises from its wreckage. Firefighters can been seen dousing the plane with water.

An image captured by the Sky News helicopter shows that the plane crashed metres from the runway, and destroyed around 15 cars on impact.

Debris from the jet could be seen strewn among the cars, according to reporters on the scene.

Police have tweeted that they are at the scene, and have urged the public to avoid the area if possible, as the site backs on to the A30 near the M3. The A30 has re-opened after it was temporarily closed following the crash, however traffic remains busy, Get Surrey reported.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokesman said a number of ambulances are on the scene, and air ambulance has also been called.

"At the moment the number of casualties is unconfirmed," he said.

British Car Auctions in Farnham told BBC News that the aircraft crashed into its warehouse, and those inside were evacuated from the building.

Andrew Thomas, who was paying for a car at the time of impact, told BBC Surrey that the plane "nosedived" and "exploded on impact".

Barry Wright, who was at the auction site, told the broadcaster that the plane "went up in a ball of flames [...] followed by several explosions."

Smoke rising from Blackbushe airport after a light aircraft crashed into a car auction shortly after take-off. (Image: Nathan Greenwood/PA)

Another eye witness described hearing the aircraft before the crash.

Daphne Knowles, 70, told Get Surrey: "I heard an aircraft coming very very fast from behind me."

She added: "I'm a glider pilot and I thought it's far too low to ground."

Robert Belcher, a local aviation enthusiast, told the Press Association that he was driving home when he saw a plume of black smoke coming from the site.

The Phenom 300 jet believed to be the aircraft that crash-landed at Blackbushe Airport (Image: Robert Belcher/PA)

"I could see the plume of smoke waving from about five miles away and was hoping it was just a car fire rather than an aircraft accident."

Mr Belcher said he was "shocked" when he discovered that a jet had crashed.

The Blackbushe dealership is one of 19 BCA auction centres in the UK.

Additional reporting by PA

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